Examiner denies climate change

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By Steven T. Jones

I’ve learned to have low expectations of editorials in the San Francisco Examiner, which endorsed John McCain for president and seems to always reflect the right-wing extremism of the paper’s Denver-based owner Phil Anschutz. But today’s editorial, which questions whether climate change is happening, is a new low.

In “Cap-and-trade scheme will wreck economy,” the paper refers to how some people believe burning fossil fuels is “allegedly” causing global warming and writes, “The problem for such advocates, however, is that Earth average temperatures have been declining for the last decade, and a fast-growing number of climate and other scientists now question the root idea of a global warming crisis.”

That statement is a lie. It is the opposite of truth, and not simply a matter of opinion or perspective, but a ridiculous and calculated effort to fool readers (I'm waiting for a response from Executive Editor Jim Pimentel and Managing Editor Deirdre Hussey and will add it to comments if I hear back from them).

Global temperatures in the last decade are some of the hottest on record, which is why the polar ice caps are melting. And the scientific community – real scientists, not those who work for industry or right-wing think tanks – is united (as much as scientists ever are about anything) in its belief in climate change and its connection to excessive carbon output.

It’s so clear that even George W. Bush and most Republicans believe it. Even the oil companies, the biggest single cause of global warming and the industry that will be hit hardest as we combat it, run ads acknowledging that it's happening. But the Examiner appears to be the last holdout. Wow.

Comments

Just to confirm that there is a current legitimate scientific opinion on climate change being man-made and serious, I went to google scholar and searched for the phrase 'climate change' in the last two years. The merit of google scholar searches is that many of the wingnut claims are excluded from the search results--you only get real scholarship. I didn't see anything denying that climate change was real and man-made. Instead, I found publications like this one in Nature(which is one of the two or three most prestigious journals), which had this abstract(summary):

Significant changes in physical and biological systems are occurring on all continents and in most oceans, with a concentration of available data in Europe and North America. Most of these changes are in the direction expected with warming temperature. Here we show that these changes in natural systems since at least 1970 are occurring in regions of observed temperature increases, and that these temperature increases at continental scales cannot be explained by natural climate variations alone. Given the conclusions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely to be due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations, and furthermore that it is likely that there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent except Antarctica, we conclude that anthropogenic climate change is having a significant impact on physical and biological systems globally and in some continents.

Cynthia Rosenzweig et al. Attributing physical and biological impacts to anthropogenic climate change
Nature 453, 353-357.

Google scholar search:
http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=climate+change&as_ylo=2008&as_yhi=20...

Posted by Matt on May. 20, 2009 @ 5:31 am

Hmm, this may be more serious than just the Examiner being a nutty corporate shill, given that Brook and Emily clearly seem to believe it's true that global warming is some kind of hoax (even if they are relying on flimsy sources, like some far-fetched website devoted to the coming Ice Age -- which has an ad from Chase bank...scary).
This is one of the big problems of the modern age, when everyone is blogging and tweeting and all opinions are considered valid and the right-wing has been shamelessly and methodically working for 40 years to hurt the media's credibility. Nobody knows what to believe anymore, so they doubt everything they hear. Well, if we can't reestablish some kind of trustworthy benchmark, some way of discussing issues of major concern without having to argue with every nutbag conspiracy theorist about whether there really is a problem, then we're doomed.
And that starts with trusting the real community of scientists (those with NASA, NOAA, the Union of Concern Scientists, UN climatologists, top academics from around the world, and those who publish peer-reviewed research papers in reputable scientific journals) more than Rupert Murdoch, the American Enterprise Institute, or some dude who put of a scientific-sounding website. Honestly, Brook and Emily, we aren't part of a conspiracy and the data we're using is the best and most credible available. Or if you prefer, just look at photos from glaciers around the world, then and now, and even you will probably develop a sense that maybe there's something to this whole global warming thing.

Posted by Steven T. Jones on May. 19, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

That bogus Murdock Antarctic ice report also selected statements out of context to make its claim.

Here is another article citing the very same science group and quoting them as stating that the melting is much more serious than previously projected and will lead to massive sea level rise if left unchecked..

http://current.com/items/89845311_antarctic-glaciers-melting-faster-than...

The trick that climate crisis deniers are using is to pick dates of scoping the melting in a way that hides that the -very- recent extremely rapid melting which began only a few years ago.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 19, 2009 @ 8:27 am

Brook: If the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melted (a concern noted by the source you've cited), it could trigger a 4 to 6 meter sea-level rise.

From the Union of Concerned Scientists:
"A major source of uncertainty about sea-level rise is the future behavior of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. For example, disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) which lies grounded on land below sea level could eventually raise sea level by 4 to 6 meters (Bindschadler, 1998; Kerr, 1998; Rignot, 1998; Bindschadler et al., 1999)."

Read more here:
http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/impacts/early-w...

Posted by Rebecca Bowe on May. 19, 2009 @ 10:23 am
Joe

Brook,

Consider the source...you cite an article from a Rupert Murdoch newspaper:
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_owns_the_Australian_Newspaper

Not exactly a bastion of journalistic integrity. I'll take NASA's word on it over Rupert any day.

Posted by Joe on May. 19, 2009 @ 8:23 am

Wrong Eric! Read the report here...

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,25349683-11949,00.html

2nd paragraph: "The results of ice-core drilling and sea ice monitoring indicate there is no large-scale melting of ice over most of Antarctica, although experts are concerned at ice losses on the continent's western coast. "

Antarctica is a huge continent, which makes these few ice shelfs that break up amount to an icecicle falling off the house. Aggregate ice is growing. You have to face it, folks. Carbon is one factor among many that affect our climate, and the solar component is looking very scary at the moment -- to trigger a new mini-Ice Age. Look it up! Educate yourself!

Posted by Brook on May. 19, 2009 @ 5:30 am

Nonsense. Antarctica is experiencing an extreme net loss of ice even though one smaller particular section has gained ice mass because of changed weather patterns. See the NASA study report at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/view.php?old=2008012326052

On your other point, strange cold snaps are perfectly understandable on a planet with net warming. The warming creates a much more energetic, active and wildly oscillating jet stream which will sometimes dip so low into the South that it will pull down extreme, unseasonably cold weather from the north.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 18, 2009 @ 8:52 pm

The Examiner is a joke - no one takes them or their ravings seriously.

Posted by Shane on May. 18, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

Actually, the SCIENTIFIC FACT is that Antarctic Ice has been growing (in the aggregate) since 1970, according to the latest scientific report, and that means somebody is lying. Let's see do I believe Al Gore or the scientists that actually measure this stuff for a living?

We've got frost warnings tonight in Mid-May -- the first time in my life I've ever seen this, and I live in the South. Diminished solar activity is pointing to extreme global cooling over the next few years. What says Mr. Jones?

Posted by Brook on May. 18, 2009 @ 7:21 pm

My advice: Read the epilogue of Leo Rosten's novel "Captain Newman M.D." and act accordingly.

Posted by Rick Knee on May. 18, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

you say:
"Global temperatures in the last decade are some of the hottest on record,"

others say:
http://iceagenow.com/
the NOAA is misinterpreting the onset of an ice age.

you say:
This is about science and a growing mountain of data.

I say:
this is about manipulation and a growing amount of data that is intentionally skewed.

why ?
global warming = a global tax.
tax competition is annoying governments everywhere and they want to get rid of it, so global warming is the answer they need.
there is to much politics messing with this debate,
change the way the science is funded and you may have hope of finding the real answer.

the climate that we need to get ready for is way worse than anyone would have you think, and stopping using energy is not going to help us.

Posted by emily on May. 18, 2009 @ 3:08 pm

"It’s so clear that even George W. Bush and most Republicans believe it."

---

Watch out for the word "believe." This is one of the rhetorical strategies of the denialist lobby and the looney Christians.

They would like to turn this into a theological debate. It is not. This is about science and a growing mountain of data.

The question is whether one "understands" the causes of climate change.

Does on "believe" in gravity?

Posted by Brian on May. 18, 2009 @ 1:01 pm